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All My Relations

2006, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36” by Jenny Badger Sultan

Painting titled 'All My Relations', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge

All My Relations was painted to celebrate my 65th birthday. I retired from my teaching job a few months later. I had recently seen a show of beautiful portraits by Memling in New York. It made me want to paint a meticulous self-portrait. I began it on this canvas but quickly became discouraged, so I messed up the canvas with wild brush work, washing the paint off with water and distressing the surface. Then images began to come--many were skulls that people have given me or that I have collected, others were suggested by accidents of the paint. I also developed my self portrait further. In my log I wrote,

“This is a marker painting--me in my 65th year as a sage or ancient woman surrounded by symbols--mostly awareness of death, but also the mystery (cave) and the healing water. Lots of spontaneous stuff.”
The title comes from the Native American invocation which is said during a ritual, by which we recognize our kinship to all beings.

This piece is a precursor to Mary McBride and the Spiritual Earth Movement, Deep Time, and The Birds and the Beasts were There.

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